What Can I Do To Have My Criminal Record Expunged?

For anyone who has been convicted of a crime, one of the hardest things to overcome is a criminal record. The results of your conviction will be kept on record where it can harm you. These days employers, schools, and others conduct background checks with regularity. If you have a criminal record it will show up on the background check because it is typically public record. There are a couple of things you can do to reduce the damage caused by a criminal conviction. There are two main ways to go about getting rid of your criminal record – expungement and sealing. An expungement is a way to erase your record while a sealed record means that it is available to only a specified group of people such as law enforcement.

Viewing a Criminal Record

First¸ it’s helpful to understand who can view your criminal record. Generally, a criminal conviction can be viewed by the public. Anyone who requests such information will be able to see it. The use of the Internet has improved communications and records and has made it easier for people to get information. Online service agencies gather public records and sell them to companies and others who want the information. Some criminal records are available for free through the Florida website. Your criminal record will be able to be viewed unless you take action to have it sealed or expunged. If you are applying for a job the company will likely be able to see the record unless it has been sealed.

Sealing or Expungement

There are two ways to possibly remove your record from public view – through sealing or expunging. Sealing a record means that the information regarding your arrest and conviction are kept private. A sealed record can still be viewed by law enforcement if needed. It can also still be accessed for other reasons including by government agencies if you are applying for a job. Generally speaking, if your record is sealed it may still show up in records but there will be no details associated with it. Therefore, others in the general public will not be able to read it. An expungement is a way to erase your record or wipe the slate clean. An expungement is usually much more difficult to attain but it can be done.

How to Seal Your Record

The first step towards having your criminal record sealed is to file a petition with the court. Your attorney will assist you in doing this and will review your case to advise whether sealing or expungement is the best route. A hearing will be held with a judge to determine if the record will be sealed. The judge will hear your reasons why the record should be sealed. For example, if the criminal activity occurred years ago and no further criminal convictions have occurred, the record may be sealed. Consult with your attorney to learn more about how to proceed with this type of action.